Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Yeshiva Files RLUIPA Action Against New Jersey Township

In New Jersey last week, a federal lawsuit was filed challenging the denial of a zoning variance by the Township of Ocean to plaintiffs who want to use an existing school building for a 96-student boarding school for advanced Jewish studies.  The 79-page complaint (full text) in Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov, Inc. v. Township of Ocean, New Jersey, (D NJ, filed 1/8/2016) contends that the denial violates RLUIPA, the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses, the Fair Housing Act, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, as well as other provisions.  A press release by counsel filing the lawsuit describes it:
The Complaint explains the Yeshiva’s need for a religious school, as well as the Township’s zoning laws that completely prohibit religious education throughout the Township for students over 18 years of age, while permitting other adult education institutions. It also describes a long litany of examples of the substantial hostility faced by the Yeshiva during the variance application proceedings..... The Complaint states that “many Ocean Township residents hold animus toward the Orthodox Jewish community in nearby Lakewood, New Jersey”.... The variance application dragged on for approximately four times the statutory limit of 120 days, including proceedings shut down because of capacity being exceeded by crowds “packing” the venue.
NJ.com has more on the lawsuit.